Many of us find it exceedingly difficult to receive grace. We feel as though we need to earn our own way, or when we sin, pay penance for what we have done wrong. This is true in our approach to much of life, including how we relate to God and others. It’s difficult to receive grace because for much of our everyday life we have to work hard and earn what we get. In school we earn grades. On sports teams, we earn the right to be a starter. As we grow up and head into the workforce, we earn a paycheck. Pause for a moment and think about all the various ways you earn what you get. This is also how many relationships work. We earn trust, we earn respect, and in many cases we earn love. Human love has conditions. But that’s not how grace works.
Justin Holcomb says, “Grace is the most important concept in the Bible, in Christianity and in the world. It is most clearly expressed in the promise of God revealed in Scripture and embodied in Jesus Christ. The deepest message of the ministry of Jesus and of the entire Bible is the grace of God to sinners and sufferers.”
Grace comes through Christ.
Grace comes to us through Christ. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life fully submitted to God the Father in all things. He is God in the flesh so that we could know what God is like. He is the promised Messiah sent by God to save us from sin, death, and destruction.
On the cross, He exchanged his perfection, for our sin so that those who have faith in Jesus get His righteousness credited to their account and their sin credited to His account. When He died on the cross our sin was removed. He rose from the dead to show his power over sin and death. He ascended to the right hand of God the Father. He then sent the promised Holy Spirit to bring faith and new life to us, empowering us to live lives of obedience.
Sinners are saved by grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us clearly that we are saved by grace. This saving work of God is only possible because God, by nature is gracious, but He is also just. His Justice and mercy are both made visible on the cross. We where by nature children of wrath, rebelling, yet dearly love by God. God rescues sinners from their own sin, by His grace. The finished work of Christ on the cross gives us access and right standing with God. This is the mission of God, to rescue sinners from themselves. God has been on this rescue mission since shortly after the fall. Jesus calls upon the church to join God’s mission, but He tells them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit before attempting to change others. Apart from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit we are powerless. We cannot save ourselves or others. Jesus saves sinners.
Saints are sanctified by grace.
In the same way, you received Christ continue to walk in Him rooted and built up. Wow, these words free us as Christians to grow in the same grace that saved us. It’s not as if God saves us by His grace and then asks us to fix ourselves and become better Christians. It’s grace all the way. Our obedience to Christ is not so that we earn His approval, acceptance, and love. Our obedience comes as a response to this astonishing grace that He lavishes on us His kids. If you are a follower of Christ remember that God’s grace alone brings transformation of your heart and mind. Without his grace, we would be lost. Apart from grace all we have is our own efforts and they will always fall short. Read Colossians 2:6-10 below realizing that we are to continue forward in the same way we received Christ, by grace through faith.
Colossians 2:6-10 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
The grace God gives through the finished work of Christ to sinners and saints alike is the only hope we have to see our lives transformed for God’s glory.